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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Bossy

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum: The Active Participant

Over the weekend, my aunt and I took a trip to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, ON. This museum tells the history of Canadian military aircraft from WWII until the present. You’re probably thinking yaaaawn- which is what most people did when I said I was taking this trip. Well too bad for you. You’re missing out on an awesome experience!

The CWHM has done an excellent job making the experience of every visitor a unique and interactive one. First, the museum portion of the building had a great, carefully selected collection of artifacts that gave both an overall view and a personal view. I commend the museum staff on their recognition of great personal stories of pilots among their ranks who experienced all types of fate.

Next, we walked into a giant room full of Canadian war planes. These planes were in all stages of repair, from the fully restored to the rebuilding stage. We walked among the yellow training planes like Harvards and Chipmunks. We saw large bomber planes and cargo planes. Then we came upon the mother of all mothers, the plane that deserves (and will receive) its own blog post, the mammoth, daunting, absolutely monstrous, Lancaster Bomber. With the ability to stand directly below it, the sheer size of this bad boy is overwhelming.

The view from below a Lancaster Bomber

Moving on, we had lunch at the museum in a cafe that overlooked the runway. We watched historic planes take off and come in. It was great. Following this, we talked to a very friendly and welcoming volunteer named Bill who was more than helpful! Bill took us out onto the runway on a personal tour where he gave us a history of each plane they had on the tarmac from Canada’s first military jet to the currently active F18. He took us inside a plane used by the United Nations dedicated to a brave group called the Buffalo Nine. Bill allowed us to get in the cock pit, look inside various planes and even told us about his own pilot experiences. When we came back inside, he toured us through the other half of the plane display and gave us details we never would have learned on our own. This definitely made our trip worthwhile.

My Aunt Christine and me in the cockpit! I know…my eyes are closed.

I’d like to extend a big thank you to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum whose dedicated, volunteer-run community made us feel welcome and informed. Because of this, we were active participants in history rather than bystanders.

Peace, love and history.

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